Google: Australian Piracy Is An Availability And Pricing Problem

Can I get an ‘amen’?! Google Australia’s head of public policy, Iarla Flynn, is your new hero: in a letter penned to Malcolm Turnbull on behalf of Google Australia about the state of Australian media, Flynn says that Australia has a piracy problem. A problem which can be solved by taking a look at the availability of content and the price of the content which is available here.

According to a previously unpublished letter to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, obtained by TorrentFreak, Google acknowledges Australia’s piracy problem, and has an idea about how to fix it.

We believe there is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem. Google takes many steps to work with copyright owners to protect the rights of copyright owners online. We would encourage the Government to promote new business models and a free marketplace for legal purchasing of content.

Google also says that it would be “disappointed” if the government decided to use the stick to solve piracy and not the proverbial carrot of new business models.

We would be disappointed if the government decided to go down the route of overly harsh regulation to combat piracy without considering the evidence from around the world that this would likely be costly for businesses to implement and with little effect.

Like ordinary content consumers, Google has real reason to fear. The Australian Attorney-General, George Brandis, appears to have a bloody-minded obsession with excessive force to combat piracy. He has signalled that a massive government piracy crackdown is on the way, and indicated that “three-strike” legislation for offenders is something he wants to re-introduce, despite overwhelming evidence that it’s as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.

Google has a bit of self-interest at work here: Google Play — its online marketplace for movies and TV shows in Australia — would be well served by any government move to strengthen online markets for content. Despite the self-interest at work, however, Google is largely correct: content available on every platform for a fair and reasonable price would cut through piracy figures like a hot content knife through online pirate butter.

Read the full submission here.

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